Houssay, Bernardo A. (1887–1971)

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Houssay, Bernardo A. (1887–1971)

Bernardo A. Houssay (b. 10 April 1887; d. 21 September 1971), Argentine physiologist, teacher, and researcher, Latin America's first Nobel laureate in science. Born to a French family in Buenos Aires, Houssay studied and, beginning in 1910, taught medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1919 he was named professor of physiology and director of the Institute of Physiology. In 1933, at the initiative of the "Houssay group," the Asociación Argentina para el Progreso de las Ciencias was founded; it played a commanding role in obtaining and disbursing funding for Argentine scientific research. With his associates and hundreds of other intellectuals, Houssay was dismissed by the military government in 1943; he later clashed with President Juan Perón. Out of official favor, he continued his research under private auspices. By the late 1940s his writings on endocrinology, nutrition, physiology, pharmacology, diabetes, and medical education gained him an international reputation. Honors and awards culminated in 1947 in the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine (shared with Carl F. and Gerty T. Cori), awarded to him in recognition of his research on the role of the pituitary gland in carbohydrate metabolism—research that pointed the way toward alternatives to insulin. Houssay served as president of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research and remained professionally active until his death. His works include Concepto de la universidad (1940), La crisis actual y bases para el adelanto de la universidad (1943), Human Physiology (1965), and La emigración de cientificos, profe-sionales, y technicos de la Argentina (1966).

See alsoPerón, Juan Domingo; Science.


Marcelino Cereijido, La nuca de Houssay: Las ciencia argentina entre Billiken y el exilio (1990).

Carl F. Cori et al., eds., Perspectives in Biology (1963).

Guenter B. Risse, "Houssay, Bernardo A.," in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 15 (1978), pp. 228-229.

Sir Frank Young and V. G. Foglia, "Bernard A. Houssay," in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol. 20 (1974), pp. 247-270.

Additional Bibliography

Cueto, Marcos. "Laboratory Styles in Argentine Physiology." Isis 85 (June 1994): 228-246.

Marco, Miguel Angel de. Houssay: La Argentina de los sabios. Rosario: Fundación Libertad, 1997.

                                 Ronald C. Newton

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Houssay, Bernardo A. (1887–1971)